High Mount School - Home Of The Trojans

September 10, 2020

High Mount School District 116

Return to School Plan for In-Person Learning

The administration has been in close contact with the Regional Office of Education and the St. Clair County Department of Public Health in order to develop our return to school plan. On September 10, 2020, the St. Clair Department of Public Health issued a letter to school districts. The Health Department has authorized bringing back students to school in smaller groups and in phases. Beginning on September 21, 2020, we will begin phasing small groups of students into school. We feel that a gradual implementation of our plan will be most effective.

After conducting a parent survey, and based upon the number of students planning to return to school in person we will operate using two different schedules at this time. This is a result of the number of students who plan to attend in person and the necessity to adhere to safety guidelines and regulations.

  • Schedule 1: Kindergarten through grade 5, as well as all special education students (grades K - 8) will return to school in-person for four days a week. These students will attend in person on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Wednesday, no students will attend in person and all students will learn remotely.
  • Schedule 2: This schedule applies to grades 6, 7, and 8. In an attempt to physically return students to school safely and adhere to social distancing recommendations, we will use a hybrid model. A hybrid model means that students will not return to school (in person) four or five days a week. Instead, your child will attend school (in person) two days per week. The other three days of learning will be done remotely. Students will be assigned to an “A” group or a “B” group.
  • A Day = Students assigned to the A group attend school in person on Monday and Thursday.
  • B Day = Students assigned to the B group attend school in person on Tuesday and Friday.
  • Wednesday = Remote learning for all students. (On Wednesday, no students will attend in person and all students will learn remotely.)
  • An email will be sent communicating which group your child(ren) has been assigned. We have ensured that junior high students on the A/B schedule are grouped together by family.
  • When attending school in person, school will begin promptly at 8:00 AM and students will be released at 12:30 PM.
  • Transportation will be provided before and after school. Additional information will be provided soon.
  • Lunch will be sent home with students to also include the next morning’s breakfast to be eaten at home. Lunch and breakfast will be available for remote learners to pick up at HMS between 11:00 AM and 11:30 AM each school day.
  • Students were given the opportunity to remain fully remote, though we are phasing small groups back into school. For this group of students, information from your teacher will be forthcoming regarding any changes.

Transition Phasing Plan:

Phase 1:

September 17

Pre-Kindergarten who have Individualized Educational Plans only

8:00 AM - 10:00 AM or 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Report in person at school on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Wednesday is a remote day for all students.

September 21

Pre-Kindergarten who do NOT have Individualized Educational Plans

8:00 AM - 10:00 AM or 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Report in person at school on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Wednesday is a remote day for all students.

Phase 2:

September 21

Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2 and all special education students (K - 8) report to school

8:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Report in person at school on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Wednesday is a remote day for all students.

Phase 3:

September 28

Grade 3, Grade 4 and Grade 5 report to school

8:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Report in person at school on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Wednesday is a remote day for all students.

Phase 4:

October 5

8:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Grade 6, Grade 7, and Grade 8 report to school on assigned days. Students will report in person for 2 days a week and learn remotely for 3 days.

Before Arriving at School: All students and staff members will conduct a daily health and well-being checklist referred to as self-certification. By sending a student to school signifies a daily parent certification of the child’s health. Students exhibiting symptoms of sickness should not come to school. We are asking parents to contact the school immediately upon recognizing symptoms. Our school nurse will be available for consultation. Requirements for self certification form are attached. Please read and sign the form to acknowledge the process and parental responsibilities of self-certification.

Upon Arriving to School: We are asking that students arrive at school as close to the start of the school day as possible. Students will not be permitteSchool wd to congregate in groups. Designated and supervised areas will be designed to allow social distancing and avoid large groups. Students will not be permitted into the building without wearing a face mask.

The School Day: Current guidelines allow for in-person instruction in small groups. Students will follow a traditional schedule. School will begin at 8:00 AM and end at 12:30 PM. All classes will meet (including specials). Each class will be shortened to make this possible. This early release allows teachers to address those students who are in-person and also students who are remote learners.

1. Within the classroom, desks/tables will be socially distanced and facing the same direction to the greatest degree possible.

2. Students will be given assigned seats and spaces in the classroom.

3. Communal sharing of items will be prohibited.

4. Efforts are being made such as establishing traffic patterns, staggered hallway passing periods, and alternating restroom breaks.

5. Hall lockers will not be used.

6. Visual clues and signs will be posted on the floors and walls as constant reminders to practice social distance guidelines.

7. Traditional water fountains will not be used. Instead, we have installed water bottle filling stations and plan to provide each student with a HMS bottle.

8. Per State guidelines, students and staff will wear masks at all times.

9. Increased cleaning and disinfecting schedules with appropriate supplies will take place throughout the day. Emphasis will be placed on high touch surfaces, common areas such as bathrooms, and after groups occupy an area.

10. Outside instruction and breaks will take place as possible so that students can socially distance and remove masks temporarily.

Specials: Art, Music, and Physical Education will continue to meet as it has in the past. However the activities will look very different. Art supplies will not be shared. Music will attempt to meet outside and when indoors, students will learn music in a different fashion. Physical Education will not engage in games that would compromise social distancing. Face masks can be removed when outside and socially distanced. Curriculums are being revamped to make such accommodations.

School Dismissal: Dismissal will begin at 12:30 PM each day. Dismissal will be staggered and students will remain in the classroom until they are released. Bus students will be assigned to either the cafeteria or the gymnasium to allow for social distancing while waiting for the bus to arrive at HMS.

Pre-K Program: The Pre-K program will operate using a shortened format as well. The first session will run from 8:00 -10:00 AM with the second session being conducted from 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM. The Pre-K room and supplies will be cleaned and disinfected between each group.

Transportation: The district will continue to contract with Belleville 201 to provide student transportation. Guidance states that all students must wear a face covering while on the bus, and parents must insure the daily wellness check prior to placing children on the bus. (This procedure was discussed in the section titled Before Arriving at School.) Routes have already been analyzed and no route will exceed the limit of 50. In most cases, the number of students on any given route to HMS is much lower than 50. Students will be assigned a bus seat, and when possible will sit with or near siblings. Parents are encouraged to transport children as much as possible.

Nursing Personnel: Our school nurse has been actively involved in the planning process. She will provide instruction to teachers and students regarding best practices in relation to hygiene, PPE, as well as meet student needs. We are committed to providing and maintaining a healthy environment for students and staff. Students who exhibit COVID symptoms, will be isolated (while supervised) until the student is picked up from school. From there, guidance from the local Health Department will be followed.

Building Cleaning/Sanitation: Our district will employ the best cleaning/sanitation protocol possible. We have invested in electrostatic sterilization equipment. The building will be cleaned and sanitized throughout the day. Classrooms will be disinfected after each group and prior to the arrival of the next group. Each evening the building will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Hand sanitizer is available throughout the school. Glass partitions have been installed in the main office and health office.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)/Masks: State guidelines mandate that students must wear a mask at all times while in the building. The school will be issuing two reusable masks to each student, which are washable. Students are REQUIRED to wear the school provided masks. Masks must be worn prior to entering the building. If your child has a specific health condition that does not allow for them to wear a mask, please contact our school nurse at dwinchester@highmountschool.net. Protocol must be adhered to and proper medical documentation will be needed for such allowances. If a student simply refuses to comply with this State mandate, the student will be transitioned to the remote learning option.

Visitors to the Building: Visitors entering the building will be extremely limited. Unfortunately, this includes parents. Recently a window with a speaker was installed in the main office. Parents and visitors will conduct business through this window in lieu of entering the main office. If it is deemed necessary for a visitor or parent to enter the school building, a health screening, including a temperature check, will be conducted.

Communications/Disclosures: In the event that a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, school district administration and the County Health Department will work together to identify all individuals who would be considered potential close contacts of the positive case. IDPH defines “close contact” as having been within 6 ft of someone with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes. The school district and/or health department will disclose the potential for exposure with close contacts on an individual basis. The school district will not make mass communications regarding positive tests out of respect for the privacy of the affected individuals. District precautions and protocols for mitigating COVID spread will isolate positive cases at school.

Implementation: Our district and community health partners have worked to develop a plan that maximizes student opportunities, while prioritizing the health and well-being for all. We recognize that this fall will be like no other that we have ever experienced. We feel that together we can have a successful year. This will require patience and flexibility from everyone involved. Also, understand that our guidance changes rapidly forcing us to rethink and sometimes change procedures. We ask that you comply with the State guidance set forth. Insuring a safe and healthy learning environment is a priority while educating our students. We ask for your understanding as we strive to do our very best.

*If possible, click this self-certification form link to print the form at home. It should be signed and returned with your child(ren) on the first day of returning to school in person. The form acknowledges parental responsibilities of the self-certification process.

School Announcements

Remote Learning Plan for High Mount Students Click here to review remote learning plan.

School Board Vacancy:
High Mount School Board of Education is declaring a vacancy. Click here for notice and instructions.

Staff Vacancy:
High Mount School is announcing a vacancy for Administrative Assistant to the Principal. Click here for notice and instructions.

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School History

The first school, consisting of one room, was built in 1880. By 1960, eight additional classrooms and a basement were added. In 1967, six more rooms and a multi-purpose room were added. In 1992, the new gym and two classrooms were added and extensive remodeling was completed. In April, 2001, the community voted to help High Mount expand the school. This expansion provided needed space for the growing student population, storage areas, and allowed for enhancements to the curriculum.

In 2003, great things happened again. Construction of a new wing began. We now have new and additional classrooms, band/chorus music room, science laboratory and new offices. In 2006 we installed an electronic marquee and constructed a new main entry-way.